Why does the Dauphin of France send King Henry V a chest of tennis balls?

The Dauphin sends Henry the chest of tennis balls to humiliate the new king. It was customary at the time for royalty to honor their peers in other realms by sending gifts through ambassadors. But the Dauphin has exploited this convention for an ironic purpose. Instead of honoring the new king of England, he wants Henry to know that his reputation is held in low regard abroad. The English court may marvel at his miraculous transformation from a rebellious youth, but the French continue to see him as little more than a playboy. It is for this reason that the Dauphin specifically sends tennis balls. Tennis was a relatively new fad at the time, and the tennis balls communicate the Dauphin’s belief that Henry is fundamentally unserious.

How does Falstaff die?

Falstaff dies offstage in act 2, but it isn’t entirely clear what causes his death. His declining health may be a matter of age, or perhaps a complication from his gluttonous consumption of food and wine. But more pertinent than any physical cause of death is the spiritual cause that Mistress Quickly references when she declares, “The King has killed his heart” (2.1.86). She associates Falstaff’s decline with the moment that took place in the final scene of Henry IV, Part 2, where the newly crowned King Henry V coldly banished Falstaff from his presence. Spiritually broken by this event, his heart—as Nym puts it—“is fracted and corroborate” (2.1.120–21).

Why does Henry kill his cousin and his friends?

Over the course of Henry V, Henry either directly or indirectly orders the execution of his cousin, the Earl of Cambridge, as well as two friends, Lord Scroop and Bardolph. In all cases, the execution orders relate to these men’s treasonous behavior. Henry orders the execution of Cambridge and Scroop, along with a third man named Sir Thomas Grey, for their involvement in a French plot to assassinate him. As for Bardolph, Henry doesn’t directly order his execution. However, when he learns that his former companion from the Boar’s Head Tavern is set to be hanged for stealing, he doesn’t commute the sentence. Henry had explicitly forbidden his soldiers from looting Harfleur, and Bardolph, having disobeyed his command, must now receive the proper punishment. Though these actions seem cold-blooded, they also demonstrate Henry’s resolve to prioritize his duty as king over his personal feelings. He therefore kills his cousin and friends as part of his kingly responsibility to uphold law and order.

Why does Henry trick Fluellen by giving him the English soldier’s glove?

Act the end of act 4, just after the English defeat the French, Henry gives Fluellen the glove he’d gotten the previous night from one of the soldiers he spoke with while in disguise. Henry had pledged to duel with this soldier, named Williams, if they both survived the battle. Now Henry plays a trick, giving Fluellen the glove and stating that he found it on the battlefield, attached to the body of a prominent French noble. The man who recognizes the glove will thus reveal himself to be a traitor, and Fluellen should arrest him. Henry’s jest is unexpectedly childish. Why, after such a decisive and honorable victory, does he engage in this odd throwback to his rebellious days in Eastcheap? For one thing, it lightens the mood and brings some levity after such an extended period of intensity. For another thing, it shows that, despite the heavy responsibility of being king, Henry still has the capacity to be playful—a capacity he’ll show again later in the long courtship scene with Catherine. In other words, something of the earlier Prince Harry persists, even in the otherwise radically transformed King Henry V.

How do the English defeat the French at the Battle of Agincourt?

The English victory at the Battle of Agincourt was a significant historical landmark, and though Shakespeare depicts this victory as a feat of sheer heroism, he also seems to accurately reflect the real historical details. The English truly were outnumbered five-to-one, and it seems that they really did manage to kill nearly ten thousand Frenchmen without sustaining many casualties on their side. The play offers very little by way of explanation for how this could have happened on a logistical level. All we know is that the French army fragmented, making it easier for the English forces to defeat them. What’s more significant in the play is the widespread attribution of the English victory to God. Henry, along with his captains and soldiers, insist that they served as an instrument of the Lord: “God’s arm” (4.3.5). This insistence implies divine authority for Henry’s claim to the French throne.